From its tongue-in-cheek title to its choice of star, the first movie in a decade from action vet Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hrs) offers no pretensions: it’s unashamedly a brain-ejecting excuse to watch Sylvester Stallone shoot people in the face.
It’s a sell that delivers, but not without distracting problems.
Adapted from a French comic, Bullet focuses on the unlikely partnership between grizzly hitman Jimmy Bobo (Stallone) and young, by-the-book detective, Taylor Kwon (Sung Kang).
They’re brought together to solve two murders; one soaked in the blood of Bobo’s underworld, the other that of Kwon’s corrupt establishment.
It’s a promising set-up, but one let down by a woeful lack of chemistry.
The limp, clichéd script deserves its share of the blame. Even so, Stallone is able to turn around clunky one-liners and meandering dialogue exchanges with self-aware panache and presence.
It’s Kang that’s the problem.
Dull, awkward and bafflingly charisma-free, he turns into a whiny, unsympathetic drip that sinks not only the dynamic, but very nearly the entire movie.
Next to Stallone, Kang may as well be made out of papier-mâché.
Keeping things afloat is Jason Momoa’s Keegan: an assassin who stirs a genuine sense of danger whenever he’s on screen.
His showdown with Bobo, fought with axes and pithy put-downs, is one of the few scenes where Bullet nails its ludicrous tone – a tone that otherwise comes across as hammy or, with its cheesy skyline shots, unintentionally hilarious.
All well and good for harmless, brain-dead fun, but when it comes to the serious business of zoning out, there are better options.
Stallone’s shtick keeps it from collapsing into farce but, overall, Bullet To The Head is too derivative and disposable to warrant serious attention.